When it comes to the space economy you have probably heard of satellite constellations, communications satellites, and earth observation. However you may not be aware of Memorial Spaceflight (e.g. “Space Burial”). So what is it…
Memorial Spaceflight Service Offering
Memorial Spaceflight service companies allow their customers to launch small amounts of a deceased's cremated remains into space. On launch day, the customer and invited guests gather for a remembrance ceremony to honor the deceased and witness the ashes being launched into space. The modern day equivalent of an Irish Wake.
Memorial Spaceflight services typically include: launch to space and return to earth; launch into earth orbit; launch to lunar orbit or surface; and launch into deep-space. Additional optional services are sometimes offered. Memorial Spaceflight packages range in price from $1,500 to over $12,000.
The target customer is primarily someone who has cremated a deceased loved one and who is looking for an experience that memorializes their loved one.
In 2020 the number of deaths in the United States was 3,383,729 and the cremation rate was 55.9%. Which represented 1,891,504 potential customers and defined a 2020 market opportunity of between $2.8 billion and $22.7 billion. And the market is growing, the cremation rate is forecast to be 78.4% by 2040 (see the following chart, source NFDA).
All three companies acquire customers through one or more of the following channels: traditional funeral service providers, regional distributors, and e-commerce.
Celestis and Beyond Burials launch their customer's remains into space using secondary payload capacity on third party launch vehicles operated by companies such as SpaceX and Up Aerospace Inc. Aura Flights uses a high-altitude balloon.
If you're an entrepreneur looking for something interesting to consider, the Memorial Spaceflight market segment might be worth your while. What makes it attractive includes: decreasing cost per kilogram to launch satellites into orbit; increasing number of launch service providers; ready availability of Nano satellites suppliers and integrators; well-suited for e-commerce; and a large, growing total addressable market.
Additional information for the curious –